Many Australians are put under financial pressure at this time of year to cope with hefty expenses over Christmas and the new year.
Many Australians are put under financial pressure at this time of year to cope with hefty expenses over Christmas and the new year.

Why you’ll be wealthier at Christmas

MANY employees will be feeling a little wealthier and probably a bit under the weather too as they trek off on their desperately-needed summer break.

Bank balances will likely be blossoming thanks to receiving a bundle of cash from the boss in the form of holiday pay.

But for those combining this with spending money you don't have - using your dreaded credit card or buy now, pay later schemes - it's a festive recipe for disaster.

You'll end up dudded just like you do when you crack open those useless bonbons.

While I don't plan to be the Christmas grinch, there's certainly some of us that need to take a good hard look at ourselves and rein in our spending.

The nation already has amassed a whopping $51.5 billion on plastic and $31.9 billion is accruing interest.

Many credit cards have interest rates above 20 per cent.

Those silly enough to spend on these cards but unable to pay them back within the interest-free period will pay a premium.

It’s easy to overspend at Christmas especially when buying items with credit.
It’s easy to overspend at Christmas especially when buying items with credit.

RateCity figures found people who rack up $1500 on a no annual fee credit card with an interest rate of 22 per cent, and only make the minimum repayments, will be hit by $1750 in interest charges and take eight years and eight months to pay it off.

Mortgage repayments, energy bills and school fees are never far away and before you know it you've blown your holiday pay. You've never wanted to go back to work so quickly, desperate to get your next pay cheque.

By using credit you are effectively just delaying playing catch up, chasing your tail trying to pay off these bills that you've racked up on tedious crap you've likely purchased in the run up to December 25.

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Just last week I had someone tell me they would not be using debit to buy Christmas gifts.

"I can't do that, I have a mortgage," she said almost like I was the clueless one.

To me this means you simply are living beyond your means.

If every Aussie put their credit card away this month and relied on paying by debit there would be much less financial heartache in 2019.

But retailers want you to splash cash like it's going out of fashion and the banks too want you to spend up big.

By racking up those hefty credit card bills and failing to pay them off at the end of the month you are making those "greedy" bank fat cats - as Commissioner Kenneth Hayne labelled them in the royal commission - richer.

Buy now pay later schemes are also disastrous if you cannot meet their strict repayment criteria

For as long as I remember I set up a separate bank account for Christmas and new year's spending, tipping in $30 a week automatically from my pay.

I'm now sitting on a nifty little pot of cash totalling $1560 that makes Christmas financially stress free.

It pays for an interstate getaway and allows me to successfully tick of my Christmas list.

Trust me, this is the best thing you can do.

While it's probably a little too late to start an account for this Christmas, it's definitely a great time to start up one up for next Christmas.



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